Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a meeting with the heads of foreign media offices in Russia, Moscow, March 1, 2021
I would like to congratulate you on the first day of calendar spring. I hope it will arrive soon in terms of the climate and that it will help bring about a spring in political relations on our planet but, of course, not in the same sense as the Arab Spring. Let us all be in a good spring mood that will motivate us to do practical deeds in the interests of all our citizens.
We appreciate our cooperation with the mass media representation in Moscow. Today, the heads of the leading news offices of these media have gathered here. I am sure that we managed to communicate despite the coronavirus restrictions, maybe not in the way we did previously, but still, communication was not interrupted after the start of the pandemic.
I hope our current meeting that we have deliberately suggested be informal, will help us openly and constructively exchange our views on the issues that concern the media and the international community in general, including the citizens of all our countries. Speaking about the number of media outlets represented in Russia, we are one of the leaders in terms of the number of news offices and foreign journalists. There are 271 foreign media offices from 57 countries in Moscow and other cities. This points to the interest in Russia, its life and foreign policy and we welcome this interest.
We have been acquainted with many of you for a long time and met repeatedly at news conferences, during interviews and at different unofficial events. Our dialogue has always been very useful. The frank assessments that we hear from you via your questions (these questions show what worries your readers) help us to plan our information work and sometimes contain prompts for the positions we promote in the world arena. We do not intend to impose our opinion on either our diplomatic colleagues or you. We hope that your coverage of events will follow the same principle, that you will describe them from all sides, objectively. Such mutual trust between politicians, diplomats and journalists guarantees success in our work and yours.
I would like to emphasise in particular that we do not close our doors to anyone and are always ready for discussions. That said, we cannot accept, let alone agree with, the current wave of so-called fakes, the attempts to use labels from the ideological clichés of the Cold War. Such attempts are turning the information field into an area of confrontation. I believe this does not help create the atmosphere that is required by our time. As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, our time demands an end to the attempts to create confrontation and hostility at every step. Even as regards the vaccines, sometimes there is a desire to turn this issue that is vital for all humanity, above all, for ensuring that all people have the right to live, into an object of geopolitical insinuations. This is sad. I think the overwhelming majority of journalists working in Russia (I am referring to foreign journalists) certainly value the reputation of their publications and their authority as professionals that work for these famous publications. We read much of what your media houses issue. I can see you are striving for profound analysis and want to get to the bottom line of everything. You can always rely on us to be your most sincere and active assistants in this respect.
In conclusion, I would like to note that we will continue our cooperation and will tell you about the circumstances that shape Russia’s foreign policy. We will be ready to answer your questions about our actions in the international arena. We are always open to mutually beneficial cooperation. Like in diplomacy, we are always striving to understand the gist of things before making any decisions. I hope you will preserve your journalistic striving to always work with authentic sources of information. Today’s meeting confirms that we are always ready for this.